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Study: Differences Seen in Brain Structure Among Chronic Low-, Upper-Back Pain and Neck Pain Patients

brain-painIn a recent study, researchers from the Xi’an Jiaotong University in China classify a reduction in gray matter volume as common in patients with chronic low back pain and different types of pain linked to gray matter abnormalities in distinct brain regions. In order to assess differences in brain morphology in patients with low back pain or neck and upper back pain, the researchers report they investigated changes in gray matter volume in chronic back pain patients having different sites of pain using voxel-based morphometry.

The results indicate that a reduction in cortical gray matter volume was observed primarily in the left postcentral gyrus and in the left precuneus and bilateral cuneal cortex of patients with low back pain. These patients reportedly exhibited an increase in subcortical gray matter volume in the bilateral putamen and accumbens, right pallidum, right caudate nucleus, and left amygdala.

The study suggests patients with upper back pain exhibited reduced cortical gray matter volume in the left precentral and left postcentral cortices. The researchers conclude the study’s findings indicate that regional gray matter volume abnormalities in low back pain patients are more extensive than in upper back pain patients.

The researchers add that subcortical gray matter volume increases were only found in patients with low back pain.

Download the study in full here

Photo Caption: In low back pain patients, increased gray matter volume was observed in the bilateral putamen and nucleus accumbens, the left amygdala, the right caudate nucleus and the pallidum revealed by region of interest voxel-based morphometry analyses.

Photo Credit: Neural Regeneration Research

Source: Neural Regeneration Research